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No pantsuits allowed: Women say political leadership dress code is out of date, sexist

Teen girls say political leadership dress code is out of date, sexist (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) A group of young feminists accused a prestigious national organization’s dress code of being sexist.

The American Legion Auxiliary’s Utah State program is a week-long political leadership camp both young women and young men. They have specific dress code requirements for boys and another for girls.

" I just thought that that was ridiculous. What kind of message are we sending to young women that they have to adhere to standards that have been around for 70 years?" said community activist Sarah Scott. "We need to feel comfortable with who we are. And feel comfortable speaking out about what we believe in."

The camp forbids girls from wearing pants suits or slacks to daily events but allows boys to wear slacks and a T-shirt.

"I just thought, how sexist. This is 2017. I can go up on Capitol Hill, and you see women, galore, in pants suits," Scott said.

Chloe Collins, 17, was accepted into the program. She called the practice a systematic inequity.

"I assert that they're trying to confine the girls to feel lesser than the boys," she said. "I feel like it really does a disservice to the girls attending to tell them that they shouldn't be able to feel comfortable and confident."

She said the dress code discrepancy would prevent her from being able to share the same experiences as the males.

"I would like to be able to have the same opportunity as any male. To feel empowered, raising the next generation of political women," she said.

Collins said, by nature, women have to pay more attention to their posture and composure when they are in a skirt or dress.

"We have to pull our legs close to us,” she said. "It forces [women] to make themselves smaller than the men in the room. And I think that that's wrong."

Collins planed on attending the event wearing her pants suits. She says if she’s forced to change, she will peacefully, but vocally, comply.

The American Legion Auxiliary State Education Director, Cary Fisher, send this information with a brochure below:

The American Legion Auxiliary Utah Girls State is a privately-funded program presented by the ALA in Utah. The ALA is a private membership organization, not a public organization or governmental unit. The ALA is non-partisan, and participants are selected by the ALA and their participation in ALA Utah Girls State is entirely funded by private donations. The current Utah Girls State Executive Board has chosen to keep the current dress code, which has existed for many years. The information regarding the ALA Utah Girls State policies and dress code is listed in the registration form, which is required to be signed and notarized by the Girls State attendee and her parents/guardians. Those girls who decide they cannot abide by the standards, can choose to not attend ALA Utah Girls State. There is a specific parliamentary process by which the Department of Utah ALA membership can request a change to ALA Utah Girls State policies.


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